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Australia West Coast: Perth to ???? -- Suggestions for 10 days in December

Australia West Coast: Perth to ???? -- Suggestions for 10 days in December

Old Sep 29, 13, 8:53 am
  #1  
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Australia West Coast: Perth to ???? -- Suggestions for 10 days in December

Executive summary:

We would love to hear suggestions for what to do with 10-14 days on the west coast.

------------------

Details: (Those things that many of FT faithful say they love to have to provide the best help )

As part of a longer trip mostly spent on the East side of Oz, we have 10 days on the west coast, mid-December. We can add a few more days, up to a max of 14. We're flying into Perth (flights already booked from US) and need to get back to either MEL or SYD. Perth and Broome are required (long story). The rest is optional. We've been to Oz before, but have never been to the West coast. We want to see a great diversity of the West coast on this trip, since we won't likely have the opportunity to spend this much time on the West coast again.

Any must see/must do suggestions would be greatly appreciated. More specifically, we're curious about how others would divvy up this time and what my fellow FT'rs would make sure to do.

The first order of business is picking the destinations and mode. Should we go Perth-Broome*, Perth-Broome-Darwin*, or something else? Should we fly, rent a car**, rent a camper***? Flying is certainly quick and easy. But how much would we miss along the way? Flying between cities and renting cars is easily doable. Budget is not much of a concern, but we're not looking for big-city/fancy/full-service hotels, hiring drivers, or luxuries. A reasonably comfortable bed, A/C, and a shower will suffice. On the other hand, if there is a nice resort to stay in or something must be done by sea-plane or helicopter, then we're game for that too.

The next level is how much time to spend in each place. We have friends in Perth we must visit and want to see the city (so we've planned at least two days there). We're flexible for the rest of the time. We're got several things in mind, but the two we're thinking about right now are:
  • 3 days in Perth, 3 days round trip to Monkey Mia, 4 days in Broome (with day excursions)
  • 3 days in Perth followed by a 8-day drive from Perth to Darwin (through Broome)**,***
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Notes:

* - These cities pairs are not the only possibilities, but Broome and Darwin seem to be the only places that support our flight needs back East.

** - We understand the enormity of the country, jet lag, temperature in some places, the 'joys' of driving long distances, and how much things cost (e.g., flights, lodging, crushing one-way rental fees, etc.). We think we understand the quality of the places we may end up staying, and that's fine with us. What we probably don't truly appreciate is the availability of support places (e.g., fuel, rest stops, lodging) on some of the long stretches of road.

*** - We have NO CLUE about renting campers. Sounds fun, but also scary hot to be sleeping in a camper in December. We're also worried about drop-off locations being closed as we get close to x-mas.

Many, many thanks in advance...

Ms. and Mr. ScatterX

.
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Old Sep 29, 13, 12:53 pm
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Glad to see someone wants to see the west coast!

Driving Perth to Darwin would be a great way to see things, but in my opinion you would need more than 8 days: its >4000KM without adding any side trips, I am not sure after 500KM a day of driving you will have the energy to enjoy the surroundings. So your first option sounds better.

As an example of some things to do I took my girlfriend on a road trip last time we were back in Perth:

Day 1: Perth to Jurien Bay. Side trip during the day to The Pinnacles.
Day 2: Jurien Bay. Pre-lunch swim with sea lions. Post lunch drive to Kalbarri.
Day 4: Kalbarri: Hike at Natures Window
Day 5: Kalbarri - Money Mia.
Day 6: In Monkey Mia, Dolphins, Quad Bike Excursion.
Day 7: Monkey Mia -> Coral Bay
Day 8: Coral Bay: Scuba/Snorkeling Ningaloo reef
Day 9: Coral Bay: Scuba/Snorkeling in Ningaloo reef
Day 10: Coral Bay: Day Trip up to Exmouth
Day 11: Mammoth drive back to Perth (we planned to split it over a few days, but i was getting sick of driving).

It was a great trip, but would have been hard to make it shorter, and we only got half way to Broome. Maybe a one-way rental to Broome to Perth might work?

When you are in Perth don't forget the Southwest. Margret River is worth the trip, for a 1 - 2 night stay, visit some wineries, visit Cape Leeuwin, visit "The Valley of the Giants".

Its a big state, and 10 days is a good start (and I do hope you like it enough to visit again), hopefully the above will help a bit.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 10:58 pm
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We had a great holiday in Western Australia last December. Originally we wanted to head north, but to everyone's advice they told us to head south, and we loved it. From what we were advised, the weather gets very warm to the north.

We spent a couple of days in Perth, drove to Albany for a few days, then to Margaret River (with a truffle lunch in Manjump), then a few days at Bunker Bay before returning to Perth. Great weather, awesome wine and food, and a wonderful holiday.
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Old Oct 1, 13, 12:15 am
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Originally Posted by sonomawine View Post
From what we were advised, the weather gets very warm to the north.
It gets stinking hot. The NW of Australia is the heat engine of the entire continent.
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Old Oct 5, 13, 6:45 am
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Thank you all for the comments/inputs. We will add some time down South too.

We think we fully understand and are prepared for the heat.

Planning continues...

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Old Oct 5, 13, 9:25 am
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The South-West of WA is the only part of Australia designated as a biodiversity hotspot. Plenty to see in a fortnight.
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Old Oct 8, 13, 2:50 am
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Australia West Coast: Perth to ???? -- Suggestions for 10 days in December

Another vote for the southwest. Try to spend some time in the enchanted Forrest in boranup - just out of Margaret river. Or heading down to the big trees in pemberton or Walpole.
But you will prob nee three days min for that job of a trip and still feel like you are rushing.
Also the NW and the SW are like chalk and cheese - you could even argue they are different countries with how different the climate and geography is! Would be good to see both but the distances are vast
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Old Oct 14, 13, 3:30 pm
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I drove from Perth to Broome in 2009, I loved it. I got a one-way camper for dirt cheap. I have not seen the southwest, but I think the great western highway was a blast.

My photos are here and geotagged, hope that gives you some inspiration!

http://picasaweb.google.com/cpmaverick/WesternAustralia
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Old Oct 15, 13, 3:40 am
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I would definitely recommend hiring a car and diving to Margaret River. It's a beautiful spot with great local wine and you will practically have the beaches to yourselves.

It's a great coastal drive that should only take you 1.5 to 2 hours.
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Old Oct 16, 13, 5:08 pm
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[^] Thank you all again for the inputs. [/^]

We're super excited to see the left half, but starting to wonder if two weeks is enough. Guess we will have drive real fast and rush, rush, rush to jam all of our laid-back, maximum chilling, and total relaxin' into this trip. Or, we just plan on going back. Choices, choices, ...

If anyone has advice on places to stay (particularly South of Perth, on the way to Monkey Mia, or in Broome), that would be wonderful.
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Old Oct 17, 13, 11:02 am
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Originally Posted by Youngie View Post
It's a great coastal drive that should only take you 1.5 to 2 hours.
Even with the new highway that bypasses Mandurah, Perth to Margaret River is going to take you at least 3 hours and that route can hardly be regarded as either great or a coastal drive.
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Old Oct 23, 13, 2:53 pm
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Originally Posted by CPMaverick View Post
I drove from Perth to Broome in 2009, I loved it. I got a one-way camper for dirt cheap. I have not seen the southwest, but I think the great western highway was a blast.

My photos are here and geotagged, hope that gives you some inspiration!

http://picasaweb.google.com/cpmaverick/WesternAustralia
Loved your photos...Thanks for sharing! I'll be driving from MEL to Perth with friends late March for the Aussies the first week of April (have to deliver a surf boat), then spending time in the Perth area. I've been to Australia several times since the early 1980's but never to the west coast.
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Old Nov 5, 13, 8:40 pm
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Australia West Coast: Perth to ???? -- Suggestions for 10 days in December

On my Perth visit - I enjoyed my day at Rottnest Island -ferry there, no cars in islands and a day in Margaret River wineries
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Old Jan 2, 14, 12:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Philatravelgirl View Post
On my Perth visit - I enjoyed my day at Rottnest Island -ferry there, no cars in islands and a day in Margaret River wineries
Great ideas, thanks Are there any other day trips (or overnight trips like Margaret River) from Perth worth seeing? I'm trying to decide how long to spend in Perth. Was thinking 5 days. That leaves me 4 to explore Perth, 1 to go to Rottnest Island and 1 add'l day (overnight) to hit Margaret River and see the wineries (and drive back the next day). So six overall in the area. Anything else worth doing/seeing in mid-January?
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Old Jan 2, 14, 9:56 pm
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Australia West Coast: Perth to ???? -- Suggestions for 10 days in December

I was there 5 days - Pinnacles desert w/sand board tour, Margaret River day tour, Rottnest day visit (I'd stay overnight here if I could for bike rides and beach - depending on time of year), I also did a tour of the coast can't remember details - there was a lighthouse and where the oceans meet (Indian and southern). Wasn't a fan of Freemantle but did a boat tour there which was nice.
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